An application of the computer to architecture (a tool in design development)
Doyle, Peter Gerald
Cannady, William T.
Master of Architecture
The computeroince its development in the late 1940's, has created an era'of unlimited potential and change. A 'transformation of the world abont us and of the processes and methods with which we are accustomed is taking place at' an accelerating pace. Computer technology is making significant contributions to architecture and to the processes through which the architectural solution is produced. This is evidenced in its application to accounting procedures, critical path planning, specifications writing, cost estimating, and graphic data processing. Architects will see develop a new 'interprofessional and interdisciplinary dialogue' which will permit them to receive engineering data and evaluation of functional characteristics almost instantly, at any stage in the design process. Working drawings .and specifications will be produced with great rapidity using computerized technology. But the computer is more than just a tool for management or a more efficient means of producing construction documents. It can become a useful tool In determining criteria for the design process and through an analytic-synthesis and evaluation of such information can establish precise functional and environmental criteria, determine suitable engineering and architectural systems and solutions and make routine design decisions based on logical quantitative data. The architect, today, cannot depend solely on traditional methods used in design development. In the search for form, we begin to uncover a very complex structure of elements of which it consists. It becomes evident that because of this underlying complexity that the sheer speed and accuracy of the computer can be an aid to the designer. In the design development phase of the architectural process, the architect dissects his problem into its various component needs and by determining the relative importance of each aspect in his system of analysis creates a hierarchy of design criteria. Then, choosing from an information source a particular system or systems to fit the needs indicated or set forth in the criteria, he sets up a working model of combinations of these systems to approximate the correct three dimensional architectural solution to his specific problem. He then tests this model and its alternates until the best solution is found, that is, the combination of elements which best satisfies all the design criteria in its proper order of relative importance. The computer, applied to such a task, would give man the opportunity to set up and investigate many more alternates to the architectural solution in a more sophisticated manner. This in no way makes the architect less responsible for the final solution. In truth, it requires a deeper understanding of the architectural problem, a logical approach in solving it, and offers more opportunity for the architect to make use of his intuitive judgment on those problems which cannot be solved by computer technology.